What your third line center choice for the Sharks says about you


What your third line center choice for the Sharks says about you

After going winless in their first two games, the Sharks are desperate to find some chemistry.

Head coach Peter DeBoer mixed up the lines the last two days, according to reporters. Tomas Hertl moved back to the wing, this time on the second line with Logan Couture. Chris Tierney centered the third line, and San Jose Barracuda playoff hero Ryan Carpenter centered the fourth.

So continues the revolving door at the third line center position under DeBoer. Hertl and Tierney have both spent some time there in DeBoer’s two-plus seasons behind the bench. Hertl’s got the underlying numbers, while Tierney put up points in the role during San Jose’s 2016 run to the Stanley Cup Final. The lack of a permanent solution, though, has left plenty of room for debate. 

Whether or not San Jose’s current lineup is optimal lies in the eye of you, dear reader. Your view of the whole lineup provides some insight, but your opinion on who the third line center should be says a lot about you.

Tomas Hertl

You’re analytically-inclined, and will tell anyone that will listen. And I mean anyone. You’ve brought former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie’s “Trust The Process” into your daily conversations...unironically. You’re committed to the plans you set, even if the results aren’t immediate or readily apparent. You value the journey as much as the destination, and you try not to lose sight of that. 

Chris Tierney

You tend to go with your gut, and are a big believer in the eye test. First impressions aren’t everything, but impressions in critical situations are. Homework wasn’t (or isn’t) your thing in school, but you placed (or place) supreme importance on exams and standardized tests. When you reflect on your life, you’ll look back on the highs, paying little attention to the lows. 

Ryan Carpenter/Any Other Prospect

You keep an open mind to new solutions, and don’t necessarily need a lot of information to make a decision. Whenever you go to a restaurant, you’re ordering something new off of the menu, even if the restaurant is an old standby. You’re adventurous, but sometimes, that spirit allows you to get ahead of yourself. You’ll give anyone, or anything, a chance. 

Any Center on the Trade Block

You want what you can’t have. The grass is always greener on the other side. You’re constantly keeping your resume up to date and looking up real estate listings in new cities, perpetually angling for the next move. This also means that you’re pragmatic. You don’t let emotion or attachment cloud your judgement, and are willing to cut bait when a decision doesn’t work out. 

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal


Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double


Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.